Weekend picks: Jan. 27

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 27-28

Potsdam at No. 9 Oswego (home-and-home)
It’s not an easy end to the season for Potsdam, which plays five of its final eight against ranked teams. They’re currently just three points back of Oswego for third place in the ECAC West, but Oswego has a potent trio of players up front that make them difficult to defend. I expect Oswego to sweep, but could see Potsdam stealing one at home. Oswego 3-1, 4-2

Concordia (Minn.) at Gustavus Adolphus
Concordia is tied with Augsburg atop the MIAC and Gustavus Adolphus and Hamline are just two points back, making this an important series for both teams. Gustavus goalie Amanda DiNella has been stellar and one of the reasons they’re allowing just 1.65 goals per game. Concordia has three senior forwards who are leading their offense. These two are so close that I don’t see anything other than a split. Gustavus Adolphus 3-1, Concordia 4-2

No. 8 Amherst at Williams (home-and-home)
These two are tied for second in the NESCAC, two points behind Connecticut College and one point ahead of Middlebury. The series will be crucial for conference tournament seeding. Williams has been playing much better at home and will need to use that to their advantage to hold off Amherst. They’ll need to work to stay out of the penalty box. Their power play is one of the worst in the country while Amherst’s penalty kill is one of the best. Amherst goalie Bailey Plaman has a 0.99 goals-against average, so it’s not an easy task for Williams. Amherst should sweep this weekend. Amherst 4-2, 3-1

Saturday, Jan. 28

Connecticut College at St. Anselm
The top teams in the NESCAC and NEHC face off. St. Anselm is averaging more than four goals a game in offense overall and more than five goals a game in the NEHC. Goals have been much harder to come by for Connecticut College, but their stingy defense has helped lift them to the top of the NESCAC. It’ll be a good test for Connecticut College to see how they stack up. I have to pick St. Anselm at home, but think Connecticut College gives them a lot to handle. St. Anselm 4-3

Tuesday, Jan. 31

No. 5 Norwich at No. 7 Middlebury
The only meeting of ranked teams this weeks will be an interesting one and I think we could see Middlebury pull off the upset. They narrowly lost to the Plattsburgh and tied Elmira. They’ve proven they are capable of playing at that level. They also have just one loss in their last nine games. Norwich will count on goalie Laurie King, who’s ranked second in the country with a .950 save percentage and a 0.92 goals-against. She’s also tied for the most shutouts this season, with six. Middlebury has been splitting time in goal and both players have found success. They’re one of the stingiest team defenses and one place they might find a weakness is on special teams. Norwich hasn’t been great on the penalty kill and Middlebury needs to find every opportunity they can. I’ll call this one for Norwich based on King’s play, but think this could be a very even, close and interesting matchup. Norwich 4-3


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